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I've been in Mexico for a month and a half and I'm currently heading to Mexico City to apply for a Chinese visa since I already have a flight back to China but my previous visa expired.

China requires a minimum of three bookings to issue a visa: One flight to China, One flight out of China, and one accommodation booking. Even if you intend to enter and/or leave via a land border and even if you're applying for a double-entry visa you only need show these reservations for the first entry.

Previously I have done this in Laos and Australia. In Vientiane one travel agent understood exactly what I needed and made the bookings, printed them out, then cancelled them for just a few dollars. In Australia a friend who worked as a travel agent at the time booked my flights and sent me the bookings before cancelling them.

In Mexico City I don't have such a friend and where you can walk around every travel agency in Vientiane in less than an hour, Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world.

I know I can book some kind of flight with no or low cancellation fee myself but don't know how to find such flights. There might be other ways I never thought of.

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    Great answer yet two close voters too lazy to say why they don't like the question. Apparently they think booking onward travel is off topic but they can't say why they hold this belief. – hippietrail Feb 25 '17 at 16:33
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You are not the first to use this type of hack and there do now exist websites to provide this service for just a few dollars:

  • Flyonward books you onward tickets for 10 USD and automatically cancels them after 48h (you can ask for a quote if you need more than 48h).
  • Onwardlflights does the same for 7 USD but I don't see how long they take until cancellation of the ticket.

(Some countries do check whether bookings are still active before issuing a visa, so it may make a difference.) I have not used either website and am not affiliated. Tip of the hat to youhavebeenupgraded (in German).

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    Both of these sites seem to accept payment only via PayPal. That's worth including in the answer. – hippietrail Feb 27 '17 at 17:01
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    I've gone ahead and used onwardflights. Only after paying did I find that i will be sent the ticket within 48 hours. I was hoping to be able to go to the embassy today. Can anybody see how long FlyOnward takes to send you the ticket? – hippietrail Feb 27 '17 at 17:16
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    @hippietrail "Your e-tiket [sic!] will be emailed through to you within 8 hours of making payment by Paypal." from their how-it-works. Also please go ahead and edit this info in. – mts Feb 27 '17 at 17:27
  • Oops in my head I upgraded it from 8 to 48 hours! Result is the same that I'll miss the embassy though. – hippietrail Feb 27 '17 at 17:42
  • By the way we have a question on the site comparing these two services: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/59239 – hippietrail Feb 27 '17 at 17:44
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I just found out about another service online which is totally free of charge, returnFlights.net

An Iraqi guy who lives in Germany told me that he's been using it recently without problems.

The site has a form you fill out with flight details you fond yourself. It lists some points you should follow too:

  • Do not fly back to your country. The person at the check-in counter might be suspicious because return flights with the same air carrier are normally cheaper.

  • Do not choose the same airline for your onward ticket. They might check it at the check-in counter..

  • Make sure you enter a valid flight and flight dates/time. Check here for valid flight dates.

  • Once you printed out your flight ticket. Highlight your name and flight destination with a marker. The person on the check-in counter will appreciate it and will not check further details.

You also can additionaly write some address and phone number on the paper to make it look more real.

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